As the world becomes more technologically advanced, many travelers are seeking opportunities to stay “connected” in a different way. Enter experiential farm shares and working properties, both of which encourage guests to put down their phones and pitch in with chores. From Oregon to Argentina, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorites for 2015. Happy farming.
The cats and goats at Piebird are the friendliest and snuggliest around. (Photo: Piebird/Instagram)
Nipissing Village, Ontario, Canada
You will learn to love the earth and dig the dirt at Piebird, where the goal of hosts Sherry Milford and Yan Roberts is to give guests a renewed inspiration and connection to the land. Most of the food served at Piebird is homegrown, and all of it is organic and vegan. Here, you’ll have opportunities to learn how to grow the food you eat, attend canning workshops, or even build a yurt. If you’re looking to venture off the farm, try cycling the Old Nipissing Road Trail.
Take a break from farming to hang out with some seals at Paua Bay in New Zealand. (Photo: Paua Bay Farmstay)
Akaroa, New Zealand
At this traditional 900-acre hill-country farm nestled in the heart of an ancient volcano, you’ll have a chance to start your day with one of the most spectacular sunrises you will ever encounter. Once you — and the sun — are both up, gather shellfish or observe seals at the property’s private beach; explore the farm by horseback; or relax on the rose-covered verandah. At night, enjoy a communal dinner set at the long kitchen table, and then unwind under the stars in a private outdoor tub.
Glendeven Inn combines gorgeous farmlands, a cozy B&B, and plenty of llama friends. (Photo: Glendeven Inn Mendocino/Facebook)
An ocean-view farmstead inn — need we say more? Start the morning with a three-course, in-room breakfast, and then hike to Van Damme State Park, which surrounds this 1860s-era inn on three sides. Post-hike, schedule afternoon tea in the property’s historic 1867 farmhouse, or feed the farm’s llamas while gazing at the Pacific Ocean. Once the sun has set, make your way inside to the Wine Barn, which serves more than 50 local wines by the glass and bottle.
Stunning Tuscan views and some of the freshest Italian food imaginable is a pretty unbeatable combination. (Photo: Agriturismo Le Caggiole)
Visit this Tuscan estate tucked into the rolling green hills, and you’ll eat dishes of handmade pasta, local meat, and vegetables from the back garden. You can even learn how to prepare them yourself in a cooking class with Mamma Ornella, the matriarch of the Martinelli family, which has run the farm for generations. Once you’ve cooked and explored your way through the award-winning vineyards and surrounding olive, plum, and walnut trees, bask in the Tuscan sun or take day trips to the nearby cities of Florence or Siena.
The beautiful Lipizzaner horses and mountain scenery at Pristava Lepena (Photo: Pristava Lepena)
At this meadowed enclave in Triglav National Park, you can stay in a stone (or wooden) chalet that overlooks the Trenta Valley and find yourself surrounded by wildflowers and peaks of the nearby Julian Alps. During the day, go for a ride on a purebred Lipizzaner horse — which the property breeds — through valleys and along the wooded slopes of the Soča River. Other activities include fly-fishing and kayaking on the river or, for the more adventurous, canyoning and paragliding.
Los Poblanos features 25 sprawling acres of lavender and organic fruits and vegetables. (Photo: Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm)
If you don’t like lavender, then this lush, historic 25-acre property is probably not for you. Here, lavandula is the star of the show. The onsite spa boasts lavender treatments, and there are lectures on growing, cooking, and even decorating with the flowering plant. The accommodations are also worth traveling for. Designed in 1932, the 20 guest rooms and suites sport wood-burning fireplaces, carved ceiling beams, hardwood floors, and antique Southwest furnishings. Mornings here begin with a full organic breakfast featuring — what else? — lavender honey.
Spend some time with these stylish Highland cattle (and maybe pick up a hairstyling tip or two) at Cwmcrwth Farm. (Photo: Cwmcrwth Farm/Facebook)
Carmarthenshire, Wales, U.K.
All hands are on deck at this farm in the beautiful Towy Valley, where husband-and-wife team Rob and Fiona Park raise rare Oxford sandy and black pigs, Highland cattle, and Cotswold sheep. Everything is done using traditional methods, and guests have an opportunity to make cheese, cure pork, collect eggs, make their own sausage, and learn how to keep pigs and goats. You’ll work hard, sure, but you’ll sleep comfortably in the property’s stylish cottages, which were once stone barns.
A glass of wine, a rocking chair, and gorgeous views — who could ask for more? (Photo: Sakura Ridge Farm & Lodge/Facebook)
Hood River, Ore.
Pulling honey from beehives and picking from the property’s less daunting pear and apple orchards are on the agenda at this rustic farm and lodge, which is located in the foothills of Mount Hood — Oregon’s highest point. Once you’ve picked, plan and prepare your bounty in the farmhouse kitchen with owner Deanna Joyer. Our favorite spot? Relaxing in a rocker on the deck of the lodge and taking in an unencumbered view of 72 acres of orchard, pasture, and woodland.
Find your inner gaucho at Estancia La Margarita. (Photo: Estancia La Margarita)
Vast countryside, wide-open skies, and cows grazing in fields are all part of the picture at this estancia, Argentina’s version of a working ranch. Once here, you’ll be busy collecting eggs, milking cows, and going for daily rides on the South American lowlands, but make sure that you’re back in time for the evening asadas, or traditional outdoor barbecues.
Check out our original adventure travel series “A Broad Abroad.”